What I've recently finished
since my last post - in this case, three weeks ago: The Silver Branch
by Rosemary Sutcliff -- finished the day of the last post. I cannot help but wonder that as part of the novel's effect Sutcliff was relying on her reader's reactions to Cullen with his titular silver branch -- ones that, half a century later in a different culture, I simply don't have. Or maybe it's just a flatter story. Kokoro Connect
volumes 2-3 by Sadanatsu Anda. Apparently I never mentioned reading volume 1 last year? Or at least, I can't find the post. Five high school students become subjects of psychological experiments by a mysterious inhuman entity called Heartseed (fûsenkazura
). In the first volume, they are subject to randomly swapping bodies, in second, to acting at random times on their immediate impulse -- later volumes involve other tests. As one might hope, each character is well-defined and their reactions are appropriately various -- especially as this brings out how past traumas produce different scars in different people. I am, btw, quite taken with the style of the covers, which are drawn (by the character designer of K-On!
) as candid photos of teenagers messing around -- volume 3
illustrates this particularly well, with one character noticing the "camera" and posing for it before another can react. Recommended. The only reason I did not continue the series is that hospital waiting rooms are not the best place for teen angst novels, however well handled. Poems of Places
ed. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow volumes 9-10, being the tour of France, volumes 14-15, of Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Netherlands, and the second half of volume 16, Austria (I read the first half, Switzerland, last year). This is, um, a lot of poetry -- each of these volumes is a good-sized anthology of its own -- but mental travel fit the bill in said waiting in hospitals. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikô
v6 by Hitoshi Ashinano. This is where Alpha finally uses the "everybody's ships" metaphor -- much later than I'd remembered, given how important it is to the series: as a near-immortal robot, she stands on the shore while human ships sail on. It isn't used often, but it will pack an emotional punch when it returns. Trent's Last Case
by E.C. Bentley
. Sadly, this is an early Golden Age mystery completely devoid of clerihews
. I am most disappointed. In all other genre respects, it served quite nicely, especially as an example of playing with genre tropes even as they are being codified. Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, First Series
by Lafcadio Hearn, which I've been poking at off-and-on over several months as the mood hit me, and only finally finished. What I'm reading now
by Michael Drayton -- am up to song 17, more than halfway through, though we've only just
reached London. Presumably tourism of parts north will get more hurried, though hopefully not in a "if it's Tuesday, this must be
York" sort way. I'm finding the bits of embedded history lessons interesting enough that I want to read the pre-Norman volume of Holinshed. Which I may want to anyway. Popular Songs and Ballads of Han China
by Anne Birrell, being heavily annotated translations of folk songs collected, or in some cases written, by the imperial Music Bureau (yue-fu
) between roughly 200 BCE–200 CE -- so the true old stuff, rather than the literary poems in the style of same I'm familiar with from Tang writers. Poems of Places
volume 17, being the first half of Germany. So far, the nationalism is notably stronger than in previous volumes -- I wonder whether the timing of unification, just before this was compiled, had any effect here. Also, less Goethe than I expected.
(Prose? What prose?)What I'll read next
On to Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers
as soon as I pick up my reserve at the library, and probably Kokoro Connect
volume 4. The second series of Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan
could also sneak in there somewhere. And more poetry, like as not. Just a guess.